TEMPE, ARIZONA – Following a late-game ankle sprain during the Giants’ thrilling 31-28 triumph over the Arizona Cardinals, star running back Saquon Barkley left the field needing support. Team members who addressed the media on Monday acknowledge the likelihood of facing the undefeated 49ers on Thursday without their star teammate.
Quarterback Daniel Jones expressed his confidence in the team’s ability to step up in Barkley’s absence, noting that his contribution is significant but that the team contains many versatile players who can contribute in various ways. Linebacker Bobby Okereke described the situation as challenging but emphasized the team’s ‘next man up’ approach in such situations.
Barkley, according to Jones, is dealing well with the situation. Despite his disappointment, he is prepared to work hard to recover. Head coach Brian Daboll assured that the team would have a strategy in place, regardless of Barkley’s ability to play in the upcoming games. The Giants have three alternatives in their roster: experienced player Matt Breida, third-year professional Gary Brightwell, and newcomer Eric Gray.
Barkley, who had a crucial role in the Giants’ comeback from a 28-7 third-quarter shortfall to secure their season’s first win, led the team in both rushing (63 yards) and receiving (six catches, a tie with tight end Darren Waller). Barkley had a perfect attendance record last season, which was a first since his 2018 Rookie of the Year season, contributing to the Giants’ playoff run with a career-best 1,312 rushing yards.
The Giants were on the brink of scoring a decisive field goal with 1:08 remaining in the game when disaster struck. Barkley, their star player, injured his right leg in a pileup, his leg taking an awkward bend. This injury is just the latest in a series of painful setbacks for Barkley, who has previously grappled with an ankle injury in 2019 and 2021, and a torn ACL in 2020, which made him miss almost all of the 2020 season. His recovery timeline remains uncertain.
Teammate Xavier McKinney shared the team’s sentiment, stating that while they’d rather have Barkley on the field, they understand that injuries are part of the game. They will have to adapt and overcome this adversity, which is part of any NFL season.
Despite Barkley’s absence, the Giants still boast a lineup of skilled players, including wide receivers like Darius Slayton, Parris Campbell, Isaiah Hodgins, and Jalin Hyatt, and Waller. Waller insisted that Barkley’s absence won’t necessarily add pressure to the rest of the team’s passing game. He believes in maintaining a balanced offense and has faith in the other players to step up and fill in the gap.
Quarterback Jones is optimistic that they can maintain a high level of performance. His goal remains the same: to execute the game plan and provide opportunities for the playmakers.
In Barkley’s absence, Breida is likely to take most of the rushing attempts. The seven-year veteran and second-year Giant is familiar with the offensive system, having played for the Buffalo Bills under Daboll, the offensive coordinator, in 2021. He has an impressive track record, with contributions from both the rushing and receiving departments.
Daboll and Jones both praised Breida for his reliability and explosiveness. They are confident in his ability to rise to the occasion. As the Giants move forward, they will have to rely on this level of adaptability and resilience.
Today the Giants just had a casual walk-thru, but due to the upcoming Thursday match, they are obligated to publish an injury report indicating who would have been able to participate in a full practice.
The only other player besides Barkley, who couldn’t make it, was left guard Ben Bredeson, who incurred a concussion in yesterday’s third quarter.
Four players are reported to have had limited involvement, including tackle Andrew Thomas (hamstring), wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson (knee), and linebackers Azeez Ojulari (hamstring) and Micah McFadden (neck). Among them, only McFadden played yesterday.
Interestingly, tight end Darren Waller, who was listed in the injury reports for the past two weeks due to a hamstring injury, was not included this time.
“I certainly feel much better after this game than I did the first one,” Waller commented, expressing his gratitude. “I’m grateful that the Thursday game, which I’ve always played late in the season throughout my career, is happening earlier this time.”
Saquon Barkley, Giants’ Star, Will Not Play Against 49ers Due to Ankle Injury
In a recent development, Saquon Barkley, the celebrated running back for the New York Giants, will not be playing in the upcoming Thursday match against the San Francisco 49ers. The reason behind this decision is a right ankle injury that Barkley sustained during the victory against the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday.
An inside source close to ESPN’s Adam Schefter revealed that the ankle injury is serious enough to sideline the two-time Pro-Bowler for an estimated three weeks. While the Giants were not fully engaged in practice sessions during the week, it was projected that Barkley would not be participating. Despite Giants’ coach Brian Daboll hinting at Barkley’s possible return to the game due to his impressive recovery speed, this will not be the case.
The Giants also have to face the absence of three more of their key players – Andrew Thomas, their highly regarded left tackle (hamstring), Ben Bredeson, left guard (sustained concussion), and Azeez Ojulari, outside linebacker (hamstring).
In response to Barkley’s absence, the Giants are expected to use a committee approach for their running back position, primarily led by Matt Breida. Gary Brightwell and newcomer Eric Gray are also expected to play a part.
Post the Thursday match, the Giants will have a break of 11 days before they face off against the Seattle Seahawks on a Monday night. The subsequent week, the team will compete against the Miami Dolphins in Miami.
It’s worth noting that this is not Barkley’s first ankle injury. He was off games for three matches in 2019, and four in 2021 due to similar issues. Unfortunately, his performance staggered for several weeks upon his return both times.